As we head into another busy week of work, parenting, errands, and adulting, I would like to share a little story. A true story that is near and dear to my heart.
This is a story about my buddy Gunnar and his family. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a little evening with them recently and we had some photo fun. Gunnar didn't feel fantastic during our little hiking adventure, but a superhero cape and my two trusty assistants were there to help!
To say that Gunnar is special is a gross understatement and trying to find the words to describe him and the reason for writing this post has been so difficult. At the age of two, his legs began to hurt often and something just didn't seem right. As the symptoms intensified, more tests were done and he was diagnosed with A.L.L. (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) in October of 2016. His mother, and dear friend of mine, put work on hold and has been his primary caregiver since that time while his father, also a dear friend, works his butt off to make sure things are taken care of - a beautiful partnership. I am so proud of how they have handled such an intense situation with grace, patience, and love for one another. I can only imagine the stress that comes during this time - while also raising another child and providing all you can for her as well. This doesn't mean that at times they don't crumble and are so overwhelmed that they aren't sure what the next step is. Many nights are sleepless either at home or spending the night at the hospital - again. Tears come, tempers fly, bodies weaken and energy is depleted, but yet smiles remain.
Watching Gunnar's big sister cut off all her hair and donate it to Locks of Love in honor of her brother brings me to tears every time I think about it. Throughout this journey, she has been strong and is a fighter just like her brother. I am so proud of her.
In and out of the hospital more times than any of us can count over the last year and half, Gunnar's zest for life remains and he continues to bring smiles to everyone he meets - even Spider-Man (thank you Oakland Children's Hospital). Treatments must also be done at home and will continue to be done for at least the next 2.5 years. A trip back to the hospital is a fall or a sneeze away...
Watching the way our community has rallied around this family is so heart-warming. Andy, Amanda, Melia, and Gunnar are so grateful for all the love that has been shown to them throughout this stressful time. That being said, this fight is far from over and don't we all need a little help from our friends?
If you are unable to give monetarily, time spent, love, food, hugs, and any other form of help and support is so appreciated. If you do wish to donate funds and read more of Gunnar's story, please visit here: https://www.gofundme.com/fightforgunnar
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